- - Monday, January 14, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Google’s new superfast Internet connection is creating a tech startup culture in Kansas City.

Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., were picked as the first cities to get Google Inc.’s new fiber-optic network capable of reaching speeds far greater than average cable-modem connections. Tech startups are sprouting up around the area dubbed “Silicon Prairie” as developers use the superfast connection. In one neighborhood, a Web developer has created what he calls a “Home for Hackers” where entrepreneurs can live rent-free for three months while they develop their business.

Still, such startups face funding challenges. Silicon Valley venture capital groups in particular like their entrepreneurs close by in California. But local developers say that’s a challenge that will keep entrepreneurs hungry and focused on building applications that people can use.


U.N. treaty on mercury likely before week’s end

GENEVA — Delegates from more than 130 nations began a final round of negotiations on Sunday expected to lead to the creation of the first legally binding international treaty to reduce mercury emissions.

The treaty would set enforceable limits on the emissions of mercury, a highly-toxic metal that is widely used in chemical production and small-scale mining.

Swiss diplomat Franz Perrez, whose nations helped prompt the call for the treaty, told reporters on Sunday in Geneva that “we are confident that we’ll be able to conclude here this week” with a final document that nations will adopt later this year.

Negotiations chairman Fernando Lugris of Uruguay said the six-day conference that has drawn almost 900 delegates and dozens of non-governmental organizations already has agreed on a draft text to be used this week for negotiations.


Court to hear Vermont nuclear plant arguments

NEW YORK — A federal appeals panel in New York is poised to hear arguments Monday over whether Vermont’s only nuclear power plant can continue to operate without approval from state regulators.

The case has drawn attention across the country since last year. A federal judge ruled that the plant can continue to operate even without state approval. The judge had said safety issues at stake in the dispute are solely the responsibility of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 2011, that panel extended the plant’s license for 20 years.

State approval expires March 21.

The Vermont Yankee plant has operated since 1972. It produces one-third of the electricity consumed by Vermont. Utilities in neighboring states buy about 45 percent of the power generated by the station.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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